Growing up in Southern California, Brett Young imagined playing big-league baseball and winning a World Series ring. His lifelong dream advanced quickly when the tall, lanky, right-handed pitcher signed a baseball scholarship with the Ole Miss Rebels, earning a letter in his first and only SEC season in 2000.
Realizing how much he missed his family and the West Coast, Brett transferred, thinking it might improve his prospects. "In hindsight, I wish I would have stayed at Ole Miss," he told Brentwood Lifestyle.
A nagging elbow injury that required surgery ended his baseball career in 2003. Although he was disappointed, it wasn't long before he realized trading his baseball glove for a guitar allowed him to focus on music.
The career transition has paid huge dividends, even though the road traveled has taken unexpected twists and turns.
"Brett had to be out of baseball completely before he could love music," says Brad Young, who, along with Brett's mother, Janice, has relocated to Middle Tennessee. "To be honest, it was hard seeing his baseball dreams end, but we knew he would be successful in whatever endeavor he chose."
He hit the bar and club circuit, singing his songs to whomever would listen. "I've played some lonely places," Brett notes. "It makes you appreciate seeing the thousands of fans singing along to our songs today."
Wanting to improve his songwriting skills, Brett moved to Arizona in 2008. That's when a lovely Arizona State co-ed, Taylor Mills, caught his eye. The aspiring artist eventually moved back to California. Not knowing if the relationship could ever work, Brett got the answer when Taylor reconnected via text. Shortly after, she moved to L.A. to begin a career in the upscale fashion industry.
"I was working hard at a wonderful job with Nordstrom," Taylor noted in a joint interview with her husband.
The couple's relationship challenges peaked when Brett decided to pursue his dreams in Nashville. "That was a hard period," confides Taylor. "The time and travel distance strained our relationship, so we broke up." Time also has a way of bringing people together. Taylor and Brett are a perfect example.
Disappointed that his relationship with Taylor couldn't parallel his musical aspirations at the time, Brett did what most great songwriters do. He began writing songs about his true love. The move would ultimately pay both personal and professional dividends.
"I always knew Brett was going to make it in Nashville," says Taylor.
After 10 years of honing his skills, Brett's career exploded. In 2014, one year after arriving in Nashville, he signed his first record deal. He released his first single in 2016. "I missed Brett a lot and was hearing him on the radio,” she adds.
The couple had found new relationships. "It's funny because I reached out to Taylor for relationship advice much like we previously faced," a smiling Brett says, glancing at the glowing mom. "She was in a serious relationship, but we both decided we belonged together.”
With several years of "togetherness" behind them, the attractive couple wasted little time planning their future. The chance to share his life with Taylor gave Brett what he desired most; a soul mate to share his success.
Brett proposed at the Graduate Hotel in Oxford, Mississippi, near the grounds where his baseball career peaked. They married in late 2018 in what one could call an "official" ceremony in Music City, followed by a "more formal and festive" ceremony in California.
The following year, his music career continued upward even as the duo learned a precious little girl named Presley would arrive that fall. After years of opening for other acts, Brett's name was now atop the marquee. In April of 2019, he began a tour with Kelsea Ballerini that kicked off in Knoxville.
(Note: It was the first time I saw Brett perform. What struck me most was how every young girl and her mom sang along to every song. When I mentioned that to him, he smiled. "That's what I'm striving for. It's been an intentional goal of ours to write and produce 'PG-13' songs that moms can sing with their kids.")
Taylor and Brett started planning how to deal with dad's absence when tours began canceling. Although he realizes performing in front of his growing fan base is essential, the time at home with are moments that Brett cherishes.
"It was great that I didn't have to miss Presley's first steps and words. The only thing that makes me antsy is that I do enjoy the road and touring."
So what does Taylor think about having her husband around so much?
"The first month, we enjoyed Brett being home and resting. As he mentioned, he's antsy and wants to get back on stage. He's probably written 200 songs since he's been home. As I became a mom for the first time, having him around was incredible. He's such a hands-on dad and knows the routine well. If he was touring, he probably wouldn't know our schedule as well."
The downtime has allowed Brett to reconnect with songwriting. He's also spent time in the studio with Dann Huff, one of Nashville’s top producers. When asked if there's a potential number one in the stack of songs he's written, Brett grinned. "Yeah, I'm pretty sure there's a hit in that catalog."
Brett hopes he'll be performing live shows later this year. "I don't know if we're comfortable being out in April," the new dad explains. "Rest assured, I'll be the first one on the road when it's safe, but I won't be a trailblazer. We want to make sure everything is ready, which is probably May or June."
Whenever it comes, Presley and Taylor will miss their doting dad and husband. "It's going to be hard when he goes back on tour, especially for Presley. We're definitely going to miss him but equally excited he’s working the craft he loves most,” she confides
Brett is pumped about his new tour passenger. "We had our bus designed for Presley when we knew Taylor was pregnant. Now we can travel together when things get going."
The couple's friends and fans wonder if the bus is large enough for additional riders. "Growing the family is definitely in our near future," Taylor quickly adds, looking at her husband. "We've talked about having three."
That's not enough to complete a baseball team, but Brett's OK with the smaller number. "At least we can have some good backyard wiffleball and football games."
Presley smiled, signaling her approval.
"The great part of living around Nashville is the people," explains Taylor. "Everyone in the industry is like an extended family and willing to help anytime. Our neighbors and friends outside of music are also great. We love Middle Tennessee and can't wait to see what the future holds for our family."